Orlando: Can A Serious Meal Be Found There?
Is there anyone who has personally eaten at the better restaurants in or near Orlando? Manuel's, Victoria and Albert, even Emeril's? Del Frisco's for steak? Any serious opinions on where to go to have a great meal, something perhaps on the level of Chicago, New York or San Francisco's best. Does this even exist? Is Emeril's even close to being as good as New Orleans?
Bottom line ansswer to your question is no, nothing (much) approaches big city dining at its best.
But the trade off is lower prices, fresher produce and seafood, (for y money) better service and a lot of variety in a relatively small geographic area.
The restaurants you name are on almost everyone's Top Five -- adding California Grille to the list.
Three of them are here only because of tourism/convention business -- Del Frisco's novelty is very good food, well-served. There's no atmosphere to speak of and you get efficient, not overwhelming service. Manuel's has slipped a bit, in my opinion, and the combination of economic trundown and higher prices has hurt them.
Like most cities we have a lot of "Road Food" type places worth seeking out. We also have every chain imaginable represented here.
Very little innovation -- such as you find in South Florida.
I've been to both Emeril's in Orlando and NO. I had some good dishes and some very mediocre. I'm a big fan of making dinner of the appetizers, they are usually tastier and more consistent. I don't believe the restaurants are quite as good as those in Chicago and NY.
Come to Tampa and go to Sidebern's.